One Of The World’s Biggest Whiskey Influencers Shares His Favorite Pours Of 2023

This year, the whisk(e)y world brought us some true gems from around the globe. From Jack Daniel’s delivering a massive selection of quality whiskeys in the upper echelon to the use of European and South American oak in Scotland, Ireland, and the USA, this has been an truly memorable year for us whiskey aficionados. To celebrate this wonderful year we’ve had, I’m going to call out eight bottles that stood out for me this year.

Like my fellow solider in the whiskey battlefields, Zach Johnston, I’ve been honored to taste endless amounts of whisk(e)y this year at every conceivable level as a judge, critic, and whiskey fan. I’ve distilled all of that tasting down to eight bottles from 2023 that I think you should try too.

So, check out my list of exemplary whiskies below and hopefully you’ll find a bottle to add to your home bar cart in 2024!

Check Out Our Best of Whiskey Lists for 2023:

8. Stranahan’s Blue Peak Colorado Single Malt Whiskey

Stranahan's Blue Peak
Proximo Spirits

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $36

The Whiskey:

This Colorado malt whiskey is made with Stranahan’s classic double distilling high up in the Rockies. The whiskey is aged in new American oak for four years before being solera batched — that means the whiskey goes into a vat that is never emptied.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Apricots, vanilla, and some tobacco

Palate: Butterscotch, brown sugar, and hints of cayenne pepper

Finish: Mid-length, mellow, and complex — it keeps you wanting more.

Bottom Line:

I truly think that 2024 will be the year of the American Single Malt, and this category will win more awards than ever before. This bottle should always be on your bar. It has the perfect balance for drinking neat or in cocktails.

7. Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye Tennessee Rye Whiskey

Jack Daniel's Bonded Rye

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $33

The Whiskey:

The base of this new Bonded whiskey is Jack’s signature rye whiskey with a mash bill of 70% rye, 18% corn, and 12% malted barley fermented with their own yeast and lactobacillus. The juice is then twice distilled via column stills and then slowly filtered through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal. That filtered whiskey then rests in a barrel for four long years before batching, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Incredible amounts of bananas flambe

Palate: Caramel and stewed fruits coat your mouth, more bananas come to the forefront, and sweetness lingers

Finish: Long, deep, rich, and complex … an all-around perfect whiskey

Bottom Line:

Jack Daniel’s released a series of absolute top-quality whiskeys — all within one year — and erased the decades-old stigma that they don’t create any whiskies of quality. It was an incredible feat and long overdue. This whiskey is an excellent example of them sticking to their guns while offering something truly great.

6. Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 27 Years Ruby Port Casks

Redbreast 27
Pernod Ricard

ABV: 54.6%

Average Price: $674

The Whiskey:

This is the mountaintop of Irish whiskey and Redbreast. After triple distillation, the whiskey is left in ex-bourbon, ex-port, and ex-sherry casks for at least 27 years before batching and bottling at cask strength with zero fussing.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Tropical fruits galore, dark fruits also come in and linger

Palate: Pineapples, chocolate, and candied ginger

Finish: Long and complex with more chocolate kicking in

Bottom Line:

As one of the judges at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) this year, I can tell you that we rated Redbreast 27 a whopping 99 points. A truly unheard-of score for any whiskey, making this whiskey a must-try for any true whisk(e)y lover.

5. Nashville Barrel Co. C.R.E.A.M. Straight Rye Whiskey Aged 10 Years

Nashville Barrel Co. C.R.E.A.M. Straight Rye Whiskey Aged 10 Years
Nashville Barrel Company

ABV: 56.48%

Average Price: $220

The Whiskey:

This single barrel release from Nashville Barrel Co. is a collaboration pick between whiskey influencers Nate Gana (me!) and Willett whiskey expert Emerson Shotwell. The whiskey in the bottle is a 10-year-old 95/5 rye from Indiana that spent its final years resting in the warmer rickhouses of Tennessee before 100% as-is bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Dill, toasted oak, and fresh pastries

Palate: Cream soda is why we chose the name CREAM, as it rounds out this malt hugely on the palate with baking spices and apples.

Finish: Long peppery and sweet

Bottom Line:

Even though I am the co-creator of this bottle with my dear friend Emerson Shotwell (@wfefanclub), the overwhelming response to this bottle was truly second to none, and I am honored. I’ll let the whiskey speak for itself.

4. The Dalmore Select Edition: Distilled in 2005 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Dalmore Select Edition: Distilled in 2005 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Whyte & Mackay

ABV: 49.3%

Average Price: $499

The Whisky:

This new limited edition The Dalmore takes classic bourbon-barrel-aged single malt and adds a little bit of Spain into the mix. The whisky was distilled back in 2005 and left in ex-bourbon casks until vatted and re-barreled into Matusalem sherry and Vintage 2005 sherry casks for a final rest. Those barrels were then vatted and proofed before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Orange citrus, peels, and orange pekoe tea

Palate: Sherry, dark chocolate, and orange

Finish: Long lingering chocolate-covered orange that Dalmore is known for

Bottom Line:

This is a classic series of The Dalmore that delivers a serious throwback to Dalmore of old. Exquisite pair of bottles between this and the 2008 edition, but this is the one to try if you’re looking for a quintessential Scotch sipping experience.

3. Virginia Distillery Co. American Single Malt Whisky Courage & Conviction Double Cask Reserve

Virginia Distillery Co. American Single Malt Whisky Courage & Conviction Double Cask Reserve
Virginia Distillery Co.

ABV: 48%

Average Price: $71

The Whiskey:

This fall release from Virginia Distillery Co. features double casking. That means that the whiskey was aged a minimum of five years in first-fill bourbon casks and European red wine Cuvée casks before slow batching with a touch of water.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Apricot notes, peaches, and butterscotch

Palate: Chocolate covered cherries

Finish: Long ginger and oolong tea notes

Bottom Line:

Virginia Distillery has been taking the ASM category up a notch alongside producers such as Stranahan’s, Balcones, and the up-and-coming Cedar Ridge. Their new double cask is a true beauty.

2. Parker’s Heritage Collection 17th Edition Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Cask Strength Aged 10 Years

Parker's Heritage Collection 17th Edition
Heaven Hill

ABV: 64.4%

Average Price: $749

The Whiskey:

The latest edition to Heaven Hill’s Parker’s Heritage Collection is a 10-year-old rye. The whiskey is made from 142 barrels from specific warehouses and floors, all made with Heaven Hill’s 51% rye mash bill (supported by 35% corn and 14% malted barley). Once batched, the whiskey went into the bottle 100% as-is at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Hot and Spicy, cinnamon, and ginger

Palate: White pepper, ginger, and candy corn

Finish: Chocolate and peanut brittle

Bottom Line:

Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll is at it again, this time with exceptional high-proof rye that speaks volumes to the quality currently being produced at Heaven Hill. While this is a rare find whiskey, it’s worth the effort to hunt down and sip slowly!

1. Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Series #11

Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #11 Bourbon
Bardstown Bourbon Company

ABV: 59.05%

Average Price: $139

The Whiskey:

The latest release from Bardstown Bourbon Company is a full-on Kentucky bourbon blend. The whiskey is made with 73% 13-year-old Kentucky bourbon, 21% 10-year-old Kentucky bourbon, and 6% of Bardstown’s own six-year-old Kentucky bourbon. Once batched, the whiskey mellows before bottling 100% as-is at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Dark fruits, maple syrup, and toasted oak

Palate: Nutmeg, oatmeal, cinnamon, and very warming and delicious

Finish: Maraschino cherries, and leathery tobacco

Bottom Line:

Coming off a win of Global Producer of the Year at the IWSC Awards in London this past October, Bardstown has cemented its name as a truly world-class whiskey producer. This latest version of their Discovery Series is the perfect place to start your journey on great bottles of whiskey and get excited about what’s to come in 2024!